From the moment you wake up until the moment you sleep, you talk to yourself, your internal dialogue. There are all sorts of studies out there suggesting how many thoughts we think in a day. I have heard anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000. Nobody really knows. What we do know is that part of the thinking process involves our ever present inner conversation between the various voices in our head. I say voices because, in many ways, the voices that we listen to are often trying to achieve different results.
There are plenty of effective strategies that you can learn in NLP or in Psychology to help you handle these voices and change your response to your internal dialogue. There is one aspect of these voices, however, that I’ve never actually heard articulated before but I believe helps massively in how we take charge of our minds. I believe the problem isn’t in what we say to ourselves but more so in terms of what we listen to.
Our mind behaves like a radio talk show sometimes. It never really stops but we do not act on, believe or buy into everything it says. Instead, we are more led by some voices than others. Why is this? More importantly, what are the qualities which make one voice more impactful than others?
In considering these questions, I began to reflect on my work on persuasion and propaganda. There is a selection of core attributes that makes a person more persuasive, For example, there is more certainty in their voice. They say their message with more emotion. They often repeat it. They use simple, clear words and they have a consistent message. They back each claim up with a selected memory that is easy to recall. They appeal to fear and terror to grab and keep the engagement of the audience.
When we take these ideas and apply them back to our internal dialogue, it starts to paint a clear picture. Perhaps the problem is not what we say to ourselves but what we hear from ourselves and pay attention to. In this day and age of distraction, it is common to go for a run and listen to a podcast and notice that you have been running for ten minutes and not listening to the show. Instead, while it plays in your ears, you are absorbed in another conversation: the inner conversation. When we actually start listening to the podcast, the inner conversation continues but we no longer really listen to it.
With this in mind, maybe what we need to start to do is to focus on ensuring that the kind of inner voice that we want to become more influential, does so. That means thinking of all of the questions, statements and suggestions that we want to give ourselves and then figuring out how to ensure such suggestions are presented in a certain tone of voice with more emotion, simplicity, clarity and consistency. We must plan to present an easily selected set of memories to back it up and prepare to repeat it. It may even be an option sometimes to draw upon fear or terror and use that as a motivation to listen to such suggestions.
Basically, why not work on not just what we say to ourselves but also, on how we say it to ourselves? If we want to take charge over what happens between our ears we need to recognise that in every power structure we must handle the political situation and there is a political, power struggle that occurs in our heads. Whenever we feel emotions, there is not one voice bringing us there. There is a multitude of voices all suggesting different things and one of the voices wins out.
TO make sure this is the right voice, we must start to observe this inner conversation and recognise the voices that we are hearing. We must take care to deliberately focus on and listen to the part of us that tells us what we do need to hear. This is what needs to happen as you become the governor of your own thoughts.
From the moment you wake up in the morning until the moment you sleep at night, you hear thousands of thoughts. Some of them you are consciously responsible for. Some of them seem to just happen. What matters most is your ability to make whichever thoughts you consciously want to, make more of an impact and more persuasive than the rest. This is the rub. This is the key. This is how you can start to win the inner war.